Drug Overdose Investigations

Expanded Drug Overdose Investigation Trainings to Improve Overdose Mortality Surveillance

About Drug Overdose Investigations

According to CDC, more than 932,000 people in the United States have died from a drug overdose since 1999. Surveillance of overdose-related mortality is one key component of drug overdose prevention efforts, as data are used to better focus prevention and overdose response activities. The National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI) and CDC recognize the need for additional training for coroners, medical examiners, and health departments to increase knowledge around investigating and certifying overdose deaths. Timely information on overdose deaths will lead to improved design and implementation of prevention interventions that reduce overdoses and overdose death.

Our Work

Working collaboratively with national medical examiner, coroner, and toxicology professional organizations and associations, NNPHI has worked to develop and expand trainings for certifying overdose deaths. In implementing this training initiative, NNPHI will enhance information access across the medical examiner/coroner and medico-legal death investigators communities and health department communities.

Our Impact

In collaboration with the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners (IACME), the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education (CFSRE), and the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME), the project has reached 1400 coroners and medical examiners with expanded training re investigating and certifying overdose deaths. A forthcoming capacity-building RFP will provide funding for coroner and medical examiner offices serving mid-sized populations to transition to electronic case management systems.

Resources and Links

IACME: https://theiacme.com/

CFSRE: https://www.cfsre.org/

  • Forensic Pathology Grand Rounds: Toxicological Causes of Death (January 7, 2022- June 17, 2022)
  • Three Part Training Series for Forensic Pathologists, Toxicologists, and Drug Investigators (available on demand)
    • Module 1: Introduction to Drug and Related Death Investigation
    • Module 2: The Evaluation and Certification of Drug Caused and Related Deaths
    • Module 3: Specialized Forensic Toxicology, Pathology and Certification

NAME: https://www.thename.org/

Contact Us

For more information, please contact us at collaboration@nnphi.fcg-staging.dev.


This project is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award (NOFO OT18-1802, titled Strengthening Public Health Systems and Services through National Partnerships to Improve and Protect the Nation’s Health) totaling $700,000 with 100 percent funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.

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